If Michael Conlan [13(6)-0] is to win the World Boxing Organisation featherweight world title he could have to go through knockout artist Emanuel Navarrete [32(28)-1].
The WBO super bantamweight champion moved up to featherweight and registered his sixth successive stoppage win, beating Uriel Lopez in Mexico on June 20 and according to Bob Arum will remain at the weight.
If that is the case the Mexican will replace Belfast’s Conlan as WBO #1 and become mandatory for the 126lbs title currently held by their fellow Top Rank fighter Shakur Stevenson.
Rio 2016 Olympian is himself said to be moving up, indeed he has said super featherweight will be the division he next competes at. As a result he looks odds on to vacate and thus open a path for two fighters to challenge for the strap.
According to World Boxing Organization president Paco Valcarcel Navarrete will be first in line with three options in terms of opponent.
Conlan, Ruben Villa, or Jessie Magdaleno are the three names put forward by the WBO official. Speaking on social media he said: “If @vaqueronavarre1 decides to move up to 126 he will be #1 in that division, 3 possible opponents, Conlan, Ruben Vila, and Magdaleno if @ShakurStevenson move up.”
As the current #1 it Conlan would perceivably be in pole position. It’s believes there were plans for the Olympic medal winner to fight for the WBO strap at the Feile in August before lockdown was put in place. He looks set to fight on a BT Sports studio show over the summer and it’s said a victory there would set up a world title fight.
The Adam Booth trained is the only Irish fighter currently ranked with all the governing bodies, but the WBO has always looked the route most likely.